Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
1 x 500g pkt green split peas
1 tbs olive oil
2 brown onions, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
3 celery sticks, ends trimmed, coarsely chopped
1 large (about 750g) ham hock (see note)
2.75L (11 cups) water
Turkish bread, toasted, to serve
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves
4 black peppercorns
1. Place the split peas in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside for 6 hours or overnight to soak. Drain.
2. To make the bouquet garni, place the thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns in a small piece of muslin cloth. Wrap up and tie with unwaxed kitchen string to secure.
3 Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, uncovered, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the split peas, bouquet garni, ham hock and water. Cover and bring to the boil.
4. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 3/4 hours to 2 hours or until the ham begins to fall off the bone and the soup thickens. Remove the pan from the heat.
5. Use tongs to remove the ham hock from the pan. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Use your hands to pull the ham off the bone. Discard the bone. Shred the ham. Return the ham to the soup. (To freeze, see notes.)
6. Stir the soup over low heat for 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Serve with toasted Turkish bread.
Ham hocks are cured, smoked shanks of leg ham. They're available from the deli section of supermarkets.
To freeze: Make the soup up to the end of step 5. Set aside to cool slightly. To freeze in two-portion batches, divide the soup among 3 x 1L (4-cup) capacity freezer-proof containers with lids. Cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours or until cold. Label, date and freeze for up to three months.
To thaw: Place the desired number of soup portions in the fridge for 24 hours, or until thawed completely.
To reheat: Place in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the soup just comes to the boil and is heated through.